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6 Steps to Start a Photography Business

How to turn your hobby into a full-time career
Photo of a photography business

Starting a business, of any kind, is not easy but going pro as photographer could be one of the biggest challenges of all these days. That’s why it’s always nice when successful pros are willing to share their tips with photographers who are considering making the leap to turning their hobby into a full-time career.

In the below video, Atlanta-based pro Evan Ranft gives you six steps to start a photography business.

Step #1: Keep Building Your Skills

“You would not believe how many people go buy a camera at Best Buy and the next day say that they’re taking portrait photography clients,” Ranft says. “Do not be that person. Build up your skills to the point where you can actually provide value to people.”

Step #2: Identify Your Dream Clients

“This has nothing to do with you actually using a camera. You just have to sit down and think about who are the people you want to attract to your business. A big mistake photographers make is thinking they want to make photos of everyone.”


Step #3: Network with Potential Clients

“There are various networking opportunities out there depending on the type of photography that you’re into. If you are into wedding photography, you can just network with friends of friends and people in your community who are in the age demographic of someone who is going to get married. If you are someone who is making headshot photos of senior portraits, you need to be in a network of people who are graduating high school or college.”

Step #4: Prove Your Value to the Community of Clients

“The easiest way to do this is by working for free. Now I know a lot of people don’t like to hear that but think about any service based industry. They all offer up free trials, and you can do the same thing as a photographer. The great thing about working for free is it simultaneously builds your network but also allows you to build a proof of concept on your social media and on your website.

Step #5: Build a Proof of Concept

“You want to have a proof of concept and present your brand as a brand that is working with the types of clients that you want to attract as a photographer. So, what does that look like? Let’s say you are someone working in the fitness industry of photography and you’re doing a lot of photography for fitness people. You can now take these photos and post them on your social media and website to create a brand that reflects you as a photographer working in the fitness industry.”


Step #6: Be Professional

“Focus on the intangibles of being a professional photography business. Show up on time, communicate well through emails, through text messages. Be cordial, be friendly, send your photos quick. Look good, dress nicely, be clean. All the things that you can do a photographer outside of your camera are just as important to your business as the photos that you are actually making.”

“6 Steps to Start a Photography Business” Comments

    In some industries this works. Clients think photography is easy and put little value on it. working for free just reinforces that. The next time they come to you with a project and you want to charge them, They will be indignant and go find another free photographer trying to get “foot in the door” You are better off working for yourself. developing your skills and presenting a body of work clients want to pay for.

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